Okay.. I’m finally writing that post I wanted to write about jealousy. I’m going in to work a little late and now’s as good a time as any.
The idea is that jealousy in a poly relationship is like cake. I stole this idea from a forum. Let’s picture a big delicious rich chocolate cake. If I have a piece of it, and I’m happy with my piece.. if I feel I’m satisfied, then I don’t really care what you do with the rest of the cake. You could cut it into 9 pieces or 2 pieces or throw it away. I got my cake.
But say you gave me a skimpy sliver, or worse I wasn’t allowed to have any cake and someone strolls by with a huge yummy looking slab of cake and was all “mmm.. look at this cake! It’s soooo good.. mmm.. chocolatey”, I’d be PISSED or hurt.
Jealousy in a poly relationship is kinda like that to me too. If I have the time or attention of degree of relationship with someone that works for me, I don’t mind as much if they have dates on nights of the week they don’t see me or they are having fun sex with someone else too. I’m not saying I never feel anything about this.. but in general this is how things are for me.
There’s a few caveats though. One of them is the length and certainty of relationship. Traveler was telling me about how his other gal friend was having a little trouble when he began dating me. The two of them had been going out about 5-6 weeks, and she expressed to him that him starting to date me was scary and aroused some jealousy for her. She is dating a couple of other guys too, and she is aware and okay with Traveler being married, but adding me.. well.. it made her jealous. She asked him “Isn’t that weird? I mean I’m not jealous of your wife, but I”m jealous of a new girl?”. They talked it through and things are cool and they figured it out. I instantly knew what she meant when I heard the story though. I can totally relate.
Travelers wife doesn’t make his gal friend nervous but I do because I am new. His wife is established. She was there before his gal. She isn’t going to suddenly grow into something else and squeeze out his gal friend. There is plenty of room for both of them and her being established means there is less chance of changes that effect his relationship with his gal friend. But me.. well.. I’m new. It’s not clear yet what my relationship will be with Traveler and how or if that will effect his gal friend’s relationship with him. What if there isn’t room for three? What if we get all super intense and she hardly gets to see him or I fill whatever she fills and he doesn’t need her at all? (There are problems with the idea that she fills a specific slot I could take over.. but hey it doesn’t need to make sense.. it’s feelings). The uncertainty of me IS scarier. I totally get this.
The uncertainty thing applies to primaries vs other partners dating too. Of course when my hubby very first started falling in love I was a little nervous. We believed we could do this.. could have relationships with other people, but we weren’t really sure what that would look like or how that’d go. I had to work through the fear I would be replaced or that maybe we’d been wrong and there was only room for one. It was an adjustment.. I won’t lie. But having made the adjustment and processed through it, I don’t have that fear anymore. When it looked later like he’d date this girl or that girl I was kinda excited for him and happy. It really wasn’t scary. I know my place with Hubby. That shit is solid. If someone tries to take that piece of cake they better bring a crowbar. We’ve been together 12 years and are still very much in love. I have plenty of room in my heart for others, but it’s going to be really unlikely that anyone would ever be able to usurp Hubby to me or me to Hubby.
Now Great Date is another story. I know he will date and have sex with and love other women. I expect it. He has dated since we’ve been together. The little dates- coffee and meetings and such I don’t really worry about. He does that a lot and it’s not really all that scary. The meeting play partners and really dating.. yeah.. I feel that. I work through it and I would never wish to stop it or make it weird or anything, but yeah.. I feel it.
He was seeing this other girl for a while.. a very beautiful, intelligent YOUNG sexy girl. That was a little harder. I had to talk to myself about that one a few times. Did she HAVE to be exotic AND young? There really isn’t any way around it but through it. It didn’t work out ultimately with her, but it did for a while and it will with others. He’s a pretty avid chatter of women and dater. It probably won’t be that long in fact. Of course I know we’re both polyamorous and of course I know I am dating other people too and it does not reflect on him at all. I fucking LOVE fucking Traveler and it in no way diminishes my utter crazy love of fucking Great Date. NOT AT ALL. I will someday find a DOM and play with and fuck him too, and that has nothing to do with Great Date either. I’m not really looking.. but you know I am kinky and i will some day. But having said all that.. yeah… I’m scared a little of Great Date really falling for someone else. What if she’s single and more available than me and he chooses to see her like 5 times a week? Will he forget about or not need me? When he falls in love with someone else, will he remember to keep our relationship alive or will he be a dick with NRE? I don’t know. I don’t think these bad things will happen, but I don’t know, and I don’t have the benefit of years of experience with him yet. It’s a little harder to work through and only time and experience will show how it all pans out. I have hope, but you know.. I don’t know. I didn’t know with Hubby either, but we had years of experience and ties so it was slightly less scary.
It will be what it will be. I will process through whatever it is. The way this processing works is that I break it down, asking myself why I have this fear until I either realize it’s an unreasonable fear or get to the root. If it’s something in me.. insecurity, old experiences, I work on myself. If it’s something else, uncertainty or fear of the unknown I try to tell myself true soothing things. If Great Date did fall madly for someone else and forget me, that would be very sad and it would hurt, but I would be okay. I am with him because I want him and not because I need him. I feel he is worth the risk and I’m happy to have this time now. I can’t ever know the future and I can’t promise him for sure I wouldn’t do that either. I know either of us can only promise we don’t INTEND or WANT to run off with anyone else or forget this thing we’re building. We can take steps to protect it.. control a little for NRE, prioritize each other, talk about how we feel. It’s not a cure all and it isn’t always easy. I have had my moments of silly and of understandable jealousy, and I will again. I will keep processing though and keep working. It’s the pricetag of poly in a way and I’m okay with that.
Here’s another strange twist though. Compersion. I feel it for hubby and hopefully will for Great Date someday too. When Hubby fell in love and I worked past my momentary fear of it.. I was really happy for his happiness and took joy in his joy. I want that for him. I want him to be loved and cherished and to feel wonderful. I want all good things for him.. great sex and cuddles, a person who sees and appreciates how amazing he is. When I look at Great Date this way too I feel a little of that past my fear. I actually love him. I want wonderful things for him too. When I think of how much I love him and the joy I want in his life I am almost there.. almost. I’ll keep working and talking and building. We’ll get there someday.. if we’re really lucky and we do the work.
Mmmm.. Chocolate Cake.
I’m stealing this wonderful analogy from http://www.polyamory.com. The idea is by “starteddy”. You can read the forum thread here: http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=25521&highlight=jealousy+cake.